Doctors' group wants Health Canada, not industry, to design marijuana labelling

A group representing the country's doctors says designing marijuana packaging should be left to federal officials and public health experts, not cannabis producers and distributors.

Product labels a key way to educate consumers, especially young people, about the risks of pot, CMA says

A budtender displays cannabis for sale at a dispensary. While the province released final details on its cannabis legalization framework on Wednesday, it is not projecting revenues or expenses associated with the sale of pot. (David McNew/Getty)

A group representing Canada's doctors says designing marijuana packaging should be left to federal officials and public health experts, not cannabis producers and distributors.

The Canadian Medical Association said Monday that product labelling is an important way to educate consumers, especially young people, about the risks of using marijuana.

The association is also urging Ottawa to apply the same standards to marijuana as it does to prescription medication and prohibit health claims that are not backed by research.

"Ensuring that health products are safe and effective must be a key component of any regulations on cannabis," said the group's president, Dr. Laurent Marcoux.

"This is why we believe rigorous scientific evidence is needed to support claims of health benefits and to identify potential risks and adverse reactions."

Health Canada applies different levels of scrutiny to prescription drugs than it does to non-prescription medication, natural health products, cosmetics and medical devices — a fact the medical association says is not widely understood.

The association is a voluntary group that represents most of the country's physicians.

Who gets to profit from Canada’s booming weed industry? Researchers at The Weekly found that nearly 40 former politicians and police officers are involved in medicinal marijuana companies, set to make retail sales as soon as it becomes legal. The CBC’s Wendy Mesley talks to pot activist Jodie Emery about how the activists who pushed for legalization are now being left out 5:01

Consumers need to be protected from misleading health claims and says it wants a single set of regulations in place for both the medical and recreational marijuana industry, it said.

The federal government is expected to legalize recreational marijuana this summer.